Bush is stating that racial considerations had nothing to do with the response to Hurricane Katrina, and, amazingly, it feels like a truthful statement. The failed federal response doesn't appear to be tainted with any racial factors (there were some local events that do have a strong racial stink, but that is another issue).
It was not race, simply a lack wealth, that delayed the response. There is no doubt that there is a significant racial component in poverty in America, and it impacts us in to many ways. In New Orleans this is especially clear to see, but in this case it was the size on the bank accounts, not the color of the skin, that determined your fate.
Economic discrimination, was behind the suffering that those left behind faced. They lived in the community most at risk, they had the fewest resources available to spend to prepare for a disaster (both in terms of community service, and personal resources), and when it did happenen the people, the city and the Parrish, did what they could, made mistakes and were overwhelmed.
This is the type of situation that the federal government has vowed to respond to. The governments efforts were delayed because those in the current leadership failed to understand the depth of economic suffering of those in need, and how that impacted their efforts at survival. Lacking that understanding, they didn't respond with any urgency. They saw the event only through how it would effect them, their homes, their families, and were unable to understand the vastly different reality that exists for so many of those living in poverty in New Orleans.
Some of the heartless, stupid, absurd and very ugly comments coming from the right clearly lack not only a sense of empathy, but a total understanding of the life of the poor that underlines the failings in the mission.